Snow Day #3

Thursday, January 29, 2009

School is canceled today and tomorrow.

I start the day with a nagging feeling; I should check the barn. A frozen pipe has burst, spraying a wall all the way up to the ceiling. The stuff stacked there, including all my boxes of canning jars, is soaking wet. The pegboard is warped beyond use; I don't know if the wallboard will need to be replaced. I found the shut-off valve; the mess will have to wait.

I spend three and a half hours chipping with the garden shovel to carve out one long, skinny, tire track up the hill and digging down the snow berm left by the plows. After about an hour, the poor shovel has lost its nice, pointy tip. It's also very dull, but it's still doing the job.

I see half a dozen earth movers drive down the road--I need to get me one of those! I dig down by the main road in hopes that one of them will have pity on me and stop to help. No dice.

Finally, I dig out enough and I hurt enough that I decide to give my track a try. I head into the house.

My house is a wreck. While I've been shoveling these past two days, Chaos, Entropy, and Disorder have been playing--using the whole house as their toyroom and kitchen. I'm too tired to care--let's go to McDonald's.

The driveway is still scary--the girls gasp each way as we inch and slide down the lane, and then a couple hours later when I gun the engine to clear the berm and slip into the track for the trip up, then gun it again to reach the flat stretch of ice at the top.

The van is safely back in the garage. I am already starting to ache all over. Advil PM will be my best friend tonight.

I can hardly wait for Snow Day #4.

How Can Something So Beautiful Be So Very Vile?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yesterday, school was canceled due to 3 inches of sleet. We had a snow day at home. We slept in, ate banana bread for breakfast, had hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes, watched too much television. We even played out in the sleet, but not for long as the stuff kept falling. It was messy and cold outside. I tried to shovel out the driveway, but it was rough going, and the sky kept dumping as much as I could clear up. The weather turned to rain around 10 pm, and then snow around 2 am.

School is canceled today, too. We wake to find beautiful, sunny skies, and 3 more inches of fluffy snow. Time to tackle driveway. We have pumpkin bread for breakfast (can you see I'm trying to conserve the milk here?), I ask the girls to get themselves dressed, and head out to start shoveling.

My cheap, plastic shovel can only tackle the top layer. Still, I figure, if I can get the top off, maybe I can work on the rest with salt. Besides, I have all day. I can chisel it out later this afternoon.

Two hours later, the girls decide they want to come outside and hinder join me. We make snow angels, sled down the hill, and play on the shoveled snow mountain (More pics on Facebook). They get cold and head inside. I keep shoveling. An hour later, they demand hot chocolate; I'm feeling overheated and starving, so I head inside.

I get sidetracked with tidying up and gabbing on the phone. Really, I just don't want to get out and shovel any more. It's depressing, it's slow, it's painful, and it's useless. Even after I get the layer of snow off, there's the thick layer of ice. It's like someone poured the contents of an entire sno-cone truck onto the driveway and then packed it down with an asphalt roller. Even if I can ski the van down this hill to the road, there's no way I'm going to make it back into the garage, or even over the foot-high snow berm the plows at the street.

Finally, I decide I need to at least get that snow layer off. Two more hours of shoveling and lots of thinking. Thinking how convenient it is that James is in the south Pacific, even if he's worried about a cyclone and getting very wet. Realizing that the only vehicles out and about are 4x4s. I'm very grumpy and my hip is starting to hurt. I take a break to hike down and check the mail, only to see that the mailman didn't deliver at all today, again. I chisel out a few token holes down to the pavement and sprinkle some ice, in hopes that somehow the patches will grow and make things easier tomorrow. Five hours of shoveling, and my lane looks like a mini version of the bunny hill at Sundance. All it needs is a tow rope. If I had a tow rope, maybe I could get the van up the lane, too.

James will be making a big purchase this fall. He will buy a snow blade for the tractor, or a Honda Pilot.

More Info on January's IBM Resource Action

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've noticed a spike in folks coming here for information on the IBM resource action. That would probably be because there is so little out there. Somehow, IBM manages to keep layoffs under the radar. Below is the only national news story I've seen on it:

After Profits Grow, IBM Quietly Lays Off Workers: NPR

Hope this helps.

Talk about Convenience!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Along the road I often take into town, a new convenience mart advertises its upcoming opening.

Every time I drive by, I wonder about the goats.

It doesn't have a name yet, but "Gas N Goats" has a nice ring to it. "Gass y Goats" would be good, if the owners want to do it in Spanglish.

"Maybe Goats"? I just don't see a lot of traffic coming in for the goats. Then again, I'm still new around here. If Sam's Club can sell mattresses, trampolines, groceries, fishing boats, and health/beauty products, maybe there is a market for a gas/convenience/livestock mart.

Is IBM Imploding?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Last week my BFF and former coworker phoned me. "Guess what happened."

"So, what happened."

"What's the worst thing that could happen to me."


Despite announcing better than expected earnings, IBM is having yet another resource action!

Laurisa had been laid off with me last quarter, but thanks to a super-human effort, she managed to squeak into a job at the absolute last minute. Now, her new department is part of the resource action--the whole group. She gets to go through the whole process again.

I'm learning this round is even bigger than before (rumors have it as high as 16k people, but I can't imagine it to be true); it feels like a war zone where I hear names of friends that have been hit. Most of my friends that lost jobs last fall haven't found new ones yet. I'm sick thinking about the many more who are adding to the highly talented job pool, not to mention how rough it is on the people who are left, happy to have a job, but overwhelmed by the workload and mourning their former coworkers.

I've spent these past few days thinking how very grateful I am that my husband has a steady job and that I don't have to go out and try to find something in this economy.

Fast Food

Saturday, January 24, 2009

With James out of the country, my only incentive for creative cooking (okay, for cooking at all) is gone. With my girls, there's an inverse ratio between the amount of effort put into a meal and the amount it will be eaten and appreciated. Macaroni and cheese from the blue box--no leftovers and a round of compliments. Beef curry stew with sticky rice--a meal with at least two encores, and scores of complaints.

Since Friday night is supposed to be date night around here (and I just don't feel like cooking), I let the girls pick where we go for dinner. Luckily, Moe's wins over Micky-D's this time. If we can leave around 6:00, we'll beat the dinner crowd.

Unfortunately, I get bogged down with IM'ing and phoning work friends due to yet another round of IBM layoffs and lose track of time. At 6:15, I call out, "Let's go to Moe's!" At 6:20, Doodle can't find her shoes, Louie can't find her coat, and CeCee insists she doesn't need to wear a coat and is on the verge of a tantrum because I won't let her come without one. At 6:30, we pull out of the garage.

At 6:44, after dodging a bale of hay in the middle of the road, one possum, three deer, and a black dog that I slam the brakes to miss (sending my purse flying off the seat and its contents all over the floor), we arrive at Moe's. As I put everything back in my purse, I realize that my wallet with my cash and credit cards is sitting back home on the kitchen counter! I explain that I don't have any money and we'll have to go home, and suggest I make quesadillas instead. The crew insist on Moe's, we turn back, and for the next fifteen minutes I get suggestions from Doodle and CeCee about how I should never take my wallet out of my purse, how I should get a leash for my wallet, perhaps use an old shoelace to tie it on, or a stapler to attach it to the purse. The conversation would be amusing, except that they want me to answer them every so often, and I'm steamed that this "easier than cooking" night out has become "not so easy". At least I don't have to dodge anything except the hay bale on the way back.

At 7:08, we arrive at Moe's again, with the wallet. Louie is fast asleep. I carry her in, lay her down at a booth, and she wakes up. I warn CeCee and Doodle that any fighting will mean we go home for dinner, and get into the long line.

As I peruse the menu on the wall, I hear them fighting already. I get out of line for damage control. They're fighting over who gets to sit by me. I'm so touched, I want to leave. I remind them not so gently, "Fighting means we go home. Let's get back into the car."

"No, we want to eat here!" they cry. "We'll be good." They're tired, they're hungry, it's 7:15. I really should've cooked dinner. I get back to the end of the line.

Luckily, the line moves fast. Amazingly, their mood improves. I bring one Joey Bag of Donuts (burrito) and three Mini Masterpieces (kiddy quesadilla meals) to the booth and they're making silly jokes. Louie eats EVERYTHING--she really was starving. CeCee eats three bites of her quesadilla and declares that she's full, except that she wants two refills of Sprite, and maybe she'll eat some chips and salsa (as in all her chips and salsa), but she's much to full to finish her quesadilla so she can have dessert. She gives me her cookie. Doodle takes a full thirty minutes to eat her meal, methodically dipping everything into sour cream and salsa.

As we're finishing up, a gentleman stops by and declares, "This is the Princess Booth! You have Three beautiful princesses. How wonderful! I bet they're a handful, too, sometimes."

They're smiling angelically at him, and giggling that he called them princesses. "Well, that depends on the night," I answer.

I'm Back

Friday, January 23, 2009

Okay, so life bogged me down and I got out of the blogging habit. I'm starting up again; I plan to fill in a few blanks for December, so if you see "old" entries pop up that weren't there before, you'll understand.

Here's a quick summary of life between November and now. We went to Utah for a long Christmas holiday with little time/access to the internet. On our return, I had tons of laundry and cleaning up to do. I told myself that I couldn't blog until I caught up with life. I received a church assignment (or calling, as we call it) to serve in the Young Women's youth group for the 14 and 15 year olds. James flew to Tonga, where he's cruising around and dropping seismometers between Tonga and Fiji, to return in mid-March.

In talking with some friends they said they noticed that my blog is getting stale. I'm flattered that someone is actually reading this, so I suppose I should make it a site worth checking again.

Frozen Pond

Saturday, January 17, 2009

About the only nice thing I can say about the cold spell we've had is that the pond is finally frozen enough to walk on. Our Canadian neighbors are hockey fans and they went out to explore the ice today, and play a little hockey. Of course, as soon as the girls saw their friend outside, they had to bundle up and join him.